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St Oswalds Way - Self Guided

This beautiful self guided walk combines some of the best walking Northumberland has to offer on a route that links places associated with St. Oswald, the King of Northumbria in the early 7th Century, who played a major part in bringing Christianity to the United Kingdom.

Opened in 2006, St Oswald's Way is a wonderful 97 mile long distance walking route exploring some of the finest stretches of the Northumberland coastline and upland landscapes. From the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the North, St. Oswald's Way follows the coast as far south as Warkworth before heading inland along the Coquet valley to Rothbury, finally ending at Heavenfield on Hadrian's Wall.

During the walk you will pass castles perched on rocky promontories, quaint fishing villages, beautiful sandy bays, rugged coastline, islands, scenic river valleys, heather clad moorland and hills, attractive villages, forest and farmland.
For those looking to explore this beautiful countryside at your own pace we offer this self guided option.

Quality self-guided walking holiday along the full length of St Oswald's Way. On this self guided trip you choose the start date and we do the rest and put together a walk for you to remember.


Day 1 - Arrival day and overnight stay in Rothbury
Day 2 - Holy Island to Bamburgh (19 miles / 31 km)
Day 3 - Bamburgh to Craster (14 miles / 22 km)
Day 4 - Craster to Warkworth (13.5 miles / 21.5 km)
Day 5 - Warkworth to Rothbury (18 miles / 29 km)
Day 6 - Rothbury to Kirkwhelpington (15 miles / 24 km)
Day 7 - Kirkwhelpington to Heavenfield (17.5 miles / 28.5 km)

Arrival by train or car

Overnight stay

If arriving by train your first night will be in Berwick upon Tweed. Parking is extremely limited in Berwick so if arriving by car your accommodation will be in Rothbury, where it will be possible to leave your car for the duration of the holiday, for free.

Holy Island to Bamburgh

19 miles (31 kilometres)

After breakfast we transfer you to Holy Island. As the crossing is tidal to Holy Island we need to check crossing times prior to confirming dates.

You start from Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island and cross the causeway to the mainland. From here you share the route of St Cuthbert’s Way for 9 miles and then continue to follow the coast path to Belford.

From Belford you head east past Budle Bay and rejoin the coast near Bamburgh. Bamburgh was the site of King Oswald’s royal seat. It is now dominated by one of Northumberland’s most familiar landmarks, the magnificent Bamburgh Castle.

Your overnight stay will be in the Bamburgh area.


Bamburgh to Craster

14 miles (22 kilometres)

From here you head towards the popular seaside village of Seahouses, where boat trips to the nearby Farne Islands can be taken (not included in the trip cost).

The route continues southwards past Beadnell and Beadnell Bay to Low Newton-by-the-Sea and Embleton Bay.

When the tide allows, it is possible to walk on the beach as an alternative at various points on this section.

After this, St Oswald’s Way passes the romantic ruins of another famous Northumbrian castle, Dunstanburgh, before arriving at the fishing village of Craster.

The accommodation this night is located in the Craster area.

Craster to Warkworth

13.5 miles (21.5 kilometres)

From the picturesque village of Craster, famous for its oak smoked kippers, your walk continues southwards down the coast. It passes the site of Northumberland’s earliest Stone Age settlement at Howick, before arriving at the village of Boulmer, with the nearby Royal Air Force base.

As you head towards Alnmouth, the beautiful beach can be used as an alternative to the path on the shore, which passes two golf courses, including one of the oldest in England. After heading through the peaceful seaside resort of Alnmouth, the route passes around the Aln Estuary before using paths through the coastal dunes with splendid views of Amble and Coquet Island.

St. Oswald’s Way then meets the River Coquet for the first time at the historic village of Warkworth where you will be spending the night.


Warkworth to Rothbury

18 miles (29 kilometres)

Warkworth is a beautiful village set in a meander of the River Coquet beneath the imposing castle. From here, St. Oswald’s Way wanders up the scenic Coquet valley. It passes through the village of Felton then through woodland and along riverside paths to Weldon Bridge.

The route then stays on the southern side of the Coquet, glimpsing the historic Brinkburn Priory on the other side of the river, through attractive rolling farmland to reach Rothbury, “the Capital of Coquetdale”, set in superb Northumberland scenery.

This night you will be staying in Rothbury.


Rothbury to Kirkwhelpington

15 miles (24 kilometres)

The picturesque and ancient village of Rothbury is set in the Coquet valley and surrounded by hills. The trail leaves the River Coquet here and heads southwards again, this time over remote but appealing country. The route enters Northumberland National Park and passes the remains of an Iron Age hill fort and rock carvings at Lordenshaws.

The heather-clad moors of the Simonside Hills are crossed before reaching Harwood Forest, a large plantation managed by the Forestry Commission. The route then crosses attractive farmland to reach the settlement of Kirkwhelpington.

As there is no accommodation in Kirkwhelpington, there will be a short transfer this evening.


Kirkwhelpington to Heavenfield

17.5 miles (28.5 kilometres)

You will be transferred back to Kirkwhelpington this morning.

This section of St. Oswald’s Way starts at Kirkwhelpington before it passes down to the attractive village of Kirkwhelpington and runs southwards through picturesque rolling farmland. This area is fairly remote and includes interesting small settlements such as Great Bavington and Hallington before reaching the village of Great Whittington.

South of Great Whittington to where the route joins Hadrian’s Wall Path and runs westwards along the famous Roman frontier to the historic site of Heavenfield, the end of St. Oswald’s Way.

You will then be transferred from Heavenfield to the Newcastle Central station, Rothbury to collect your car or Newcastle Airport (see supplement).

Holiday Builder - St Oswalds Way - Self Guided - 7 days

Total: £735.00 per person


(A) Bed and Breakfast accommodation (twin or double share basis).
(B) Route map and instructions specific to your trip, including emergency telephone numbers.
(C) Luggage transfers between accommodation.
(D) Transfer to Holy Island at the beginning of your trip (including luggage transfer).
(E) End transfer from Heavenfield back to Rothbury accommodation or train station as necessary.
(F) Emergency back-up service from Shepherds Walks Holidays mobile telephone number.


(A) Any additional transfers not mentioned in the dossiers
(B) Cost of parking your car for the duration of your trip
(C) Personal clothing and equipment.
(D) Insurance
(E) Lunch and Evening meals.
(F) Single room option (if required, see single supplement).
(G) Pick up and drop off at airports.
(H) Other entrance fees into attractions and public transport costs not mentioned above.


The Shepherds Walks Representative will:

A) Be available should you have any problems during your trip
B) Arrange the transportation of your luggage.
C) Provide transfers as necessary to your car / station if specified in your booking or itinerary.

We are here to offer you the best holiday you could ever imagine and we aim to do this through the personal service that we offer.

Make your holiday run smoothly – We are here for you. Our sole objective is for us to help you. We are here at any stage of your holiday and even in the planning stages. We tailor things to your requirements, not those of the masses.

We don’t cut corners - We want to see you again and want you to speak highly of Shepherds Walks Holidays. This is why we are literally willing to go that extra mile. The information you receive at every stage will be clear and leave you asking no questions.

We have personally walked all the trips we offer - We know exactly what you are going to embark on and can advise you on any aspects of your holiday over and well above what many of our competitors can.

Press choose to walk with us – Shepherds Walks Holidays are asked to deliver a very high percentage of the trips for journalists in the region. When the Tourist Boards are approached by a journalist wanting to visit the area who do they ask to provide their holiday or take them out walking? Shepherds Walks.

We have had press trips on all our routes and the articles speak for themselves.

Protected Holiday - All our holidays are protected through the operation of a Trust Account.

We are close at hand if you need us – We are a local business and if you need us at any time during your holiday just ask. If you are on a self guided trip we often will catch up with you, even over a drink one evening, just to make sure everything is going well. It’s better to iron out any little problems during your holiday, rather than hearing about them when you are back at home.

We enjoy great relationships with your accommodation providers and they will help us to help you

As we are literally on the doorstep we know the best places to stay. Often we will have block booked the best accommodation the previous year. We want our customers to stay in the best possible accommodation. As we know the proprietors personally and we liaise with them regularly they will go that extra mile to help us to help you whilst out on your route.

That is why Shepherds Walks has won awards and has helped people relax and totally enjoy their visit to this wonderful part of the country. We are willing to go that extra mile!

Can I add an rest day into my walking holiday?

Yes you can at any point, just get in touch and we can discuss the best options for this trip.

Can I bring a dog with be on this trip?

Yes you can, this trip is dog friendly.

Do I need travel insurance?

If you are coming to the UK from overseas it is a condition of our tours that you are covered by medical and personal travel insurance that includes repatriation to your home country. If you are a UK resident medical and personal travel insurance is also recommended. If you have not organised appropriate insurance yet, please do so before you travel.

Do you move our bags for us on our walking holiday?

Yes, we move your bags for you everyday. You just leave your main bag at your accommodation and we will move it for you, so it will be at your next nights accommodation waiting for you.

You just carry your day pack.

Your baggage allowance for the trip is one main piece of luggage which should be preferably either a backpack/rucksack or sports bag, and one small daypack. Try to travel as light as possible. It is best to avoid large solid hardtop suitcases as these cause difficulties on transfer vehicles etc.

The larger piece of luggage will travel on the vehicle between accommodations and the daypack should be suitable for carrying any additional outer-layer clothing and items you will need on your walk during the day. As a general rule, we would recommend that your main piece of luggage shouldn't weigh more than 15 - 20 kilos.

What is a Double, Twin and Single room?

Room descriptions

Double – One double bed for two people.

Twin – Two single beds each for one person.

Single – A room with a single bed in.

Will we get picked up on the last days walking?

Yes a Shepherds Walks representative will pick you up and transfer you to the railway station or to your hotel if you requested an extra nights accommodation.

We are thinking of a self guided trip, what happens if we need to speak with you during our holiday.

Before your holiday starts we will give you a 24 hour helpline number for us here at Shepherds Walks Holidays. If there is anything we can help you with during your holiday just give us a call and we can sort it out for you.

We would rather sort any problems out during a trip and then you can get on and enjoy yourself rather than finding out there has been a problem at the end when it is to late.

Don't forget we are here to give you the best holiday experience we can.

Varied walk

Friday 10th February 2017 Sophie Dixon

We did this walk last year and very much liked the varied countryside it passed through. After a few days down the Northumberland coast we headed inland and then over the top of the Simonside Hills, a highlight to the holiday. Heavenfield was the end of a great walking holiday.I must commend Shepherds Walks holidays on some exceptional customer service, it is so nice to meet real people who know and understand the trail you are going to walk.This year we are heading off along the Dales Way with Shepherds Walks holidays!

Great walk

Sunday 2nd July 2017 T & I Morris

First time on this sort of hoiliday & exceeded all expectations. Enjoyed the variety of terrain; well waymarked; some long days but well warned about that. Comparing notes with other walkers, we seemed to be getting best service. Many thanks Shepherds Walks Holidays

Great walk

Sunday 2nd July 2017 T & I Morris

First time on this sort of hoiliday & exceeded all expectations. Enjoyed the variety of terrain; well waymarked; some long days but well warned about that. Comparing notes with other walkers, we seemed to be getting best service. Many thanks Shepherds Walks Holidays

St Oswald's Way

Wednesday 14th July 2021 Holloway

Shepherd's Holidays provided us with an interesting route to walk and set up the accommodation and transfers for us and our dog. All we had to do was to turn up and do the walking. Route finding was straightforward and the route was varied, taking us along coastal paths, through woodlands, along river valleys and over the moors. The information pack told us where there were refreshments available, and more importantly, where there were not. We were able to book our evening meals in advance and enjoyed a worry-free holiday. Our favourite stretch was coming over a hill at the end of the first day and seeing the sea, sand and Bamburgh Castle. Magic. 

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